October 8, 2019
Is searching for a ‘PR company near me’ a wise decision? Location is not always as important as you think. We look at some reasons when it’s good to choose a public relations agency that’s based around the corner, and also when there are other – more critical factors – that should come into your decision.
Are your customers local?
This is the key question to ask yourself. If your customers are national or international, then having a PR company that’s local might not be your best bet. Proximity can sometimes be a security blanket. But a good agency will be more than happy to travel to you. In reality, most of the time, day to day work is conducted over the phone, by email, What’s App, Skype etc rather than popping to your offices.
There are times when local does work. At Transform Communications we work with a range of organisations in professional services. Legal companies and accountants, for example, will be wanting to reach clients that are local to them. It makes perfect sense to therefore choose a PR agency that understands the local market, has connections and networks that will be beneficial and knows the local media landscape.
However, we also work with management, people and business consultants. Their clients might be international or national organisations. Locality should not be a deciding factor.
What sector are you in?
If your customers aren’t local, then it is best to look for a PR agency that is a specialist in your sector. The more complex your business or service, the more important this is. There is always an investment of time when working with a new PR agency to get them up to speed. They are your voice in the market. The more that they understand your market, the clearer your voice will be.
Ask the PR company for evidence of working in your industry or sector. Can they bring added value by understanding your market? Do they know the latest developments? Do they know the publications and media in your space?
We’ve worked with companies in Switzerland, France, Germany, Singapore. In the UK, our longest standing client is in Newcastle, and we regularly travel to London. We’re based near Bath and Bristol. Our nearest client that’s in the HR and people development field, one of our sector specialisms, lives across the road from our office but we see them just as often (and sometime less) than our other cliients.
Have they worked with companies like me?
Every business has different challenges at different stages of development. Aside from location and sector specialism, check whether the PR agency understands the stage of your business and what your objectives and priorities are likely to be. Are they the best match for where you are at the moment? Do they have the capacity and capability to advise you at different stages of your development?
PR for start-ups
If you’re a start-up technology company, then assess whether the public relations company has worked with other start-up tech firms. You need someone who understands the challenges. Knows how to launch a tech company, be disruptive and get you attention. Fast.
PR for growing a brand
As companies grow and develop, creating brand awareness, building authority and increasing your credibility in the market are likely to be key objectives.
Know who you are targeting and be very clear about what you want your PR company to achieve. Ask how they will measure success.
PR for change
Change is the only constant. And of course, we all need to be agile and adapt. Sometimes though, the change is more drastic. Perhaps you’re launching into a whole new sector or need to do a 180° pivot of your business model.
Taking a company through change means there needs to be communication at all your audiences – internally, to existing customers, suppliers and stakeholders, as well as externally in the market. Make sure your PR company has the proven experience to advise you.
PR to defend
Crisis communications. It’s a whole industry in its own right. Helping company’s when the worst or the unexpected happens. But there should also be due process in place to defend your business before something hits. This becomes critical if you’re looking at best practice, wanting to prepare your business for exit, or wanting to demonstrate industry standards with certification, such as ISO 9001.
Every business that is looking to grow and potentially sell their business, needs to make sure that they have crisis plans in place.
PR to sell or exit your business
Any plans you draw up to exit your business should always include a thorough review of your communications. You need to make sure you’re maximising the value of your brand through every communication channel available to you.
If you are planning to sell or exit your business, find a PR partner that understands the requirements. Be open with them about your business objectives so they are fully briefed in what you want to achieve. They should be able to create platforms for you that raise your profile, build brand awareness and make you an attractive acquisition. And plans need to be put in place as soon as you’ve made the decision to exit.
Finding a PR agency that meets your criteria can be a time intensive task. But it is an incredibly important relationship. Most PR agency relationships last for years. Your PR company should be a confidential advisor. Understanding your business objectives and your strategy. They should question and challenge you. A good professional PR advisor is as important as a relationship with your business coach, lawyer or accountant. Choose carefully and the right PR agency will pay back dividends in the growth of your company.
Contact Daniel O’Connor at Transform Communications Ltd to find out more about who we are, where we’re based and whether we’ve worked for a company that’s just like you.
T: 01225 863846